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Posted: 04/17/12 01:22 PM ET  |  Updated: 04/17/12 01:22 PM ET

White House Accepts Nominations For Citizens Medal For First Time Ever

For over 40 years, powerful leaders and everyday Americans alike have been recognized for their outstanding acts of service.

That recognition, the Presidential Citizens Medal, is one of the nation's highest civilian honors -- and now, its up to you to decide who gets it.

Obama announced Monday that for the first time nominations will be accepted for the 2012 Citizens Medal as an opportunity for people who have made significant differences in their community -- even if they haven't garnered national attention, according to a press release.

“These citizens come from different backgrounds and they’ve devoted their lives to different causes, but they’re united by the choice they’ve made to help others," Obama said in the release. "The 2012 Citizens Medal is a chance to recognize these everyday heroes in your community.”

To nominate someone for the Citizens Medal, fill out the online application through April 24. The nominations will be narrowed by White House staff members, and winners will awarded at a ceremony with the president.

In 2011, Obama gave the award to 13 people, whose causes and service ranged from LGBT issues to the environment to domestic abuse.

To learn more about last year's winners, check out the slideshow below:

Steve and Liz Alderman
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The Aldermans founded the Peter C. Alderman Foundation in their son's name after losing him in the September 11th terrorist attacks. The Foundation aims to help victims of violence cope with emotional trauma.
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Filed by Emily Heinz  |